Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Horror of the 80s: When Will I Be Famous?

When I was a young thing, American pop combo New Kids on the Block were the wholesome young pinups of choice for young girls across the land. With their catchy, if somewhat illogical, songs and their boyish good looks they set many a teenage heart aflutter as they insisted on ‘Hangin’ Tough’ all over the UK charts. Although most of us weren’t entirely sure what ‘Hangin’ Tough’ actually meant we were reasonably certain that it was something terribly cool and American as New Kids were doing it with abandon.

This all worked well for some, but fundamentally it had a flaw - we were British - we didn’t entirely understand these perky Bostonians and their oddly synchronised dancing of the street, we needed something else, something that captured the England of our time with all its sullen irascibility. Enter Bros – two leather clad twins of infinite blondeness and the other one in the back in an anorak.

Bros wilfully set fire to the charts with their peculiar brand of Aryan blandness striding through the pages of Smash Hits like pedestrian Norse gods with the other one tagging along behind. They were largely responsible for semi-petrified hair, bottle cap shoes and uncomfortable dancing to their nasal and distinctly trilly version of ‘Silent Night’ at Christmas discos across the land. Yes, they were lacquered pioneers; in fact, the only Bros downside apparent was the unfortunate side effect of inspiring a generation of pubescent girls to dress like stereotypical 80s lesbians. But this was small price to pay.
Upstarts Bros petulantly demanded of us in 1987 ‘When Will I be Famous?’ and the answer was ‘we’ve scheduled in some time for you around about 1987-89 and then you can have some more low-key fame round about 2007, but only you, Luke. Matt, the other one, you’re on your own. I’m sorry, our hands are tied.’

In a bizarre turn of events Luke Goss would, indeed, achieve a level of fame as a minor league horror star. Let us take a peek at his blondness in action.

Jared Nomack, Blade II

In Blade II our 80s icon emerged as new breed of vampire and carrier of the Reaper Virus. Doing Britain proud, Goss the elder (10 minutes older) looks suitably pale and ailing, as is the British way, as he chomps his way through lesser vamps and engages in exuberant battle with Wesley Snipes. For me this was the blonde popstrel’s acting debut (I believe he did do some other stuff previously, but this was the first I’d paid attention to) and I have to admit that I was dubious, in fact, I found the whole prospect laughingly ridiculous. But, surprisingly, the golden maned one acquits himself quite nicely in his first horror outing and manages to create some genuinely creepy moments, but then I suppose the Snipes factor probably worked to his advantage by creating a talent vortex that makes the even inanimate objects look a better performer by comparison (not to be confused with Reeves factor which goes one step further by making the thin air around him more interesting and well-rounded.) Only joking, Wesley, I’m completely serious about Keanu though.

Jack, The Dead Undead

Really not sure what was going on here....vampires vs. zombie vampires apparently. A meandering, awkward mess of nothingness for the most part. Teenagers arse about in a motel getting eaten by the undead until (thankfully!) a third of Bros show up. The drumming third of Bros plays Jack the leader of a heavily armed gang of mercenaries who also happen to be vampires, the good kind not the bad zombie kind (there’s a difference apparently). The rest of film is largely action, weaponry and killing bad zombie vampires peppered with peculiar flashbacks spanning centuries to flesh out the good vampires. Not the best film, I couldn’t help feeling that I was watching the pilot for a TV series for the majority of it, but, he of the locks of blonde puts in a pretty good showing wielding firearms and being all macho and commanding all over the place which is what was called for the wake of all the chewed up teenagers. Go the 80s and go Britain!

Also notable for a cameo from legend Forrest J Ackerman as a wheelchair bound zombie vampire.

Kale, Unearthed

Massive silliness all round. Our ex-pop pin up plays, a little incongruously, a gun toting archaeologist who, like best archaeologists do gun toting or not, goes poking about in a Native American burial round and accidently unleashes a ravenous, toothsome creature on humanity. All manner of bland chaos ensues and we all wish we’d watched something else instead. Not Goss’ greatest outing, but he puts a brave face on and battles through doing the very best with what he’s given.

Prince Nuada, Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Once again reunites the Gosster with Ron Perlman (he was also in Blade II, as if you didn’t know). Ron Perlman is at his awesome.....sorry, force of habit. I meant to say that Luke Goss plays the prince of the elves who takes on Ronnie P in his ruthless pursuit for the a third of a crown that will resurrect the Golden Army and destroy mankind.
Hellboy II heralds the return of the blondeness. In these later years our Luke has largely been all moody and shaven headed, but in Hellboy II he is so blonde again that it’s blinding, and, unexpectedly from what one might expect from an elf, he’s a bit ruddy kick ass too, but obviously it’s the blondeness that’s important.

While he may not have been the greatest drummer (or even the greatest drummer in Bros for all we know) little Luke Goss is growing up to be something of genre star and, despite my initial misgivings, I for one am rather pleased about that.

Where Are They Now?

Matt Goss (twin) – Surprisingly he is currently packing in the crowds at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas in a live stage show produced by the creator of the Pussycat Dolls. I find this hilarious. Apparently he’s also written a children book and does an advert for Yorkshire Tea. Actually, in retrospect, this is more hilarious.
Craig Logan (not twin/bassist/anorak wearer) - Even more surprisingly Logan became a song-writer and was nominated for an Ivor Novello award. He went into management and is now in charge of Pink. Who knew?!


  1. I remember when they did an interview with Emma Freud on some late night TV show. I wonder what happened to her.

  2. She married Richard Curtis, the world's most inexcusable man.

    As ever, Jinx, you add to my store of knowledge. I had no idea the Gosses had any kind of cultural afterlife, let alone such an eccentric one.
    Just goes to show.
    If only Dannii Minogue had found her way into horror films instead of naff rip-offs of Opportunity Knocks.
    There was a time, back in the early nineties, when I was sure I would end up marrying her.
    We live and learn.

  3. Amazing post! Informative and esoteric. Beautiful!

    Glad to see you blogging again, my dear! It's been too long!

  4. I had never heard of Bros until reading your post, but knew Goss from "Blade II" and "Hellboy II" (both directed by the brilliant Guillermo del Toro). He's got a hot bod and some mad MMA skills. And I probably wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers, if you know what I mean.

    Welcome back, darlin'! And thanks for your kind words on my own blog.

  5. I'm so glad you're back! I adore your posts. :)

  6. Wow, this puts a whole new spin on Prince Nuada for me. Now every time I watch that movie I'm going to have the "80s lesbian" image in my head.

  7. Oh, the New Kids on the Block. Loooved them. Joey McIntire was my personal favorite, even though everybody else loved Jordan :). My sister and I had dolls and sleeping bags and lots of other embarrassing stuff that we've hopefully thrown away...

  8. As an indie teenager, in the 80's I hated Bros with all my guts. I didn't recognize the blonde one in the above mentioned flics, and now you've given me this priceless piece of information! I am, well, utterly pleased :)



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